The neighborhood planning process for northern South Park, which encompasses Gill and Lockhart land, is moving ahead and there are opportunities for the public to get involved.

The effort has been long discussed, and not without controversy.

After the Gills proposed rezoning 74 acres of their land in northern South Park for a housing development that would see 65% of the lots deed restricted in some way for local workers, the community spent months debating the proposal. People generally fell into camps that, on one hand, supported the development and wanted to see it move ahead quickly as a solution to Jackson Hole's housing woes and, on the other, opposed the development, concerned about its affordability and other issues. The latter camp supported a neighborhood plan before the Teton County Board of County Commissioners approved any rezones in the area.

Teton County Planning Director Chris Neubecker, the Teton County Planning Commission and the County Commission, which denied the Gill's rezone application on Sept. 29, took the latter position, opting for what's intended to be an expedient planning effort.

Teton County and the town of Jackson — though the county will lead the effort — are now looking for stakeholders and steering committee members to participate in the process. Those interested should complete the application at JacksonTetonPlan.com/apply by the Nov. 8 deadline.

"We're interested to see who's interested and then we can move this thing forward," Neubecker told the Jackson Hole Daily.

The role of stakeholders and steering committee members will be different.

"A stakeholder would be someone who is impacted by the development or wants to provide input on the plan, and they would be interviewed or surveyed probably one time and that would be at the beginning," Neubecker said. A steering committee member, by contrast, "would be someone who is more involved in the planning process and would be on a committee that helps guide the planning process."

Steering committee members will be required to attend two to four meetings a month between November and July 2021, the anticipated end date of the planning effort.

The group of steering committee members should also be smaller than the group of stakeholders: seven, as planned, rather than 15 or 20.

The steering committee is intended to consist of five members of the community and two representatives from the Gill and Lockhart families, which own the majority of the land in the area.

Both families have expressed interest in developing their land for housing, though only the Gill family's proposal has been substantially reviewed by the Teton County Board of County Commissioners. The Lockharts have said they are willing to wait for a neighborhood plan.

Neubecker did say the numbers of stakeholders and steering committee members could change, depending on how many people apply. 

"If we don't get applications, it could be reduced," Neubecker said, talking about the size of the steering committee. "If we get significant applications and think we need a broader representation of the community, it could be expanded."

Ditto the group of stakeholders, which Neubecker said could represent a wide swath of the community. The county will likely ask a representative from Teton County School District No. 1 to participate since its campus in northern South Park is surrounded by the lands in question. Otherwise, Neubecker said, who's a stakeholder will be determined by who applies, though he imagined community members focused on housing, the environment, water quality, development, and transportation as well as representatives from neighboring homeowners associations and property owners would also apply.

Members of the public who don't apply or aren't chosen as stakeholders or steering committee members will also be able to participate, a press release read, "through community meetings, online surveys, charettes, open houses and other forms of engagement that will be determined once a planning and design consultant has been identified."

Progress is also being made toward identifying that consultant.

At the conclusion of the County Commission's regular Tuesday meeting, Neubecker said the county had received 13 responses to a request for proposals: "Now the hard part is we've got 13 probably good proposals so it's gonna be a lot of reading going on in the next week."

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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